Monday, March 8, 2010

Women's Day and the Frente de Resistencia

A story dated March 9 in Cuba's Prensa Latina reports that the Frente de Resistencia is calling for a popular consulta on June 28, 2010. The aim would be to carry out the popular opinion poll that was cut short by the coup d'etat of 2009. But where that consulta was going to ask if there should be a referendum on last November's ballot to determine levels of support for a constituyente, the proposed 2010 consulta is directly on whether to convene a constituent assembly.

The same communique also convenes the "Segundo Encuentro por la Refundación de Honduras" (Second Meeting for the Refounding of Honduras) this coming March 12 to 14. Following up on the first assembly of the Frente, held in Siguatepeque, this second meeting will take place in La Esperanza.

Siguatepeque, located in the Department of Comayagua, was a traditional Lenca community. Today, it is the location of the Red Comal (Comal Network), a development organization working with rural men and women that was targeted by the de facto regime in the days leading up to the coup. La Esperanza, in the Department of Intibucá, is located in the heart of contemporary Lenca country, and has been a center of popular and Lenca resistance, exemplified by this video statement against the coup d'etat by a Lenca woman. The places chosen for meetings by the Frente exemplify the fact that the Frente is a network of labor, campesino, indigenous, and women's organizations. Which brings us to International Women's Day.

While the communique from the Frente referred to by Prensa Latina has yet to appear on the website Vos el Soberano, the convening of the gathering in La Esperanza is mentioned in a statement by Feminists in Resistance posted on March 7, anticipating the International Day of Women, today, March 8.

The Feminists in Resistance write
The commemoration of this March 8 is invested with profound significance for organized women, since it coincides with the celebration of the first century that this date has been recognized as the International Day of the Working Woman. Nonetheless we cannot forget that this date is the result of the great and heroic journeys that we have carried out through the course of history to attain the dignity and emancipation of working women and women in general. We should not forget the pioneers that, on March 8, 1908, declared themselves on strike, demanding the right to form unions, salary increases, vocational training and a workday of less than 12 hours.

Linking the challenges facing women then to those in Honduras after the coup and today, the statement calls on
world feminist organizations, international women's movements, popular movements and democratic institutions on all the continents and, of course, all our [Honduran] people who from their respective spaces can contribute to holding back this repressive wave against the Honduran popular movement that is setting free a peaceful struggle to achieve a life of peace and liberty.

The full communique from the Resistance Front, Number 51, is available on the blog Resistencia 5 Estrellas. Coverage in Prensa Latina is partial: reporting only on the first two points of the communique (calling the consulta, and condemning the US for interference in the country's affairs).

Left out was the Frente's call for human rights organizations to pay attention to the escalation of tension in the Aguan valley. In this point of the statement, the Frente accuses
La Prensa and El Heraldo, property of Jorge Canahuati Larach, and the TV channels of the Corporación de Televicentro, property of Rafael Ferrari, that attempt to show the working families and popular leaders as terrorists.

In addition, the communique expresses support for the union of workers at the national university, UNAH.

Why do these omissions matter? whether it is CNN failing to discuss the entire context of the coup d'etat, or Cuban media ignoring the current local issues to cherry-pick the Frente's statements, it is important not to substitute selective representations that match our expectations for the unprecedented historical processes unfolding through the agency of the Frente and its constituents, including the Honduran Feminists in Resistance.

Saludos, compañeras, en el día internacional del mujer. Venceremos.

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